This is tax season. This is also tax scam season, so be aware there are crooks out there who are looking to steal more than just your tax refund.
The National Crime Prevention Council warns taxpayers to be on the lookout for scam artists posing as employees of the Internal Revenue Service. These fake IRS officials are actually identity thieves looking to steal personal information.
Several versions of the scam have been seen in the area in recent years. Most of these cases involved callers identifying themselves as IRS employees and asking for bank account information.
Don’t be taken in by such calls. Never give out your personal information over the phone or Internet unless you have initiated the contact. Government agencies and companies do not communicate about personal information via email, or ask for passwords, personal identification numbers or other private information about financial accounts unless you contact them.
According to the NCPC, the IRS and U.S. Treasury Department have reported an increase in “phishing” scams this year involving fraudulent spammers who send emails that use the IRS logo in an effort to trick taxpayers into providing their Social Security number and other personal information.
Even though these emails look real — coming from such addresses as firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com — they are not. Scammers use the victim’s financial and personal information to open lines of credit, apply for loans and file false tax returns.
For more information about identity theft and how you can prevent yourself from becoming a victim, visit the NCPC’s website at www.ncpc.org.